Ohio Food Revue

Thankfully this image is NOT indicative of the food we ate when the Carol Rector family met in Lancaster to memorialize her mother Liz, who passed away this summer. Brian grazed up north in the Mistake by the Lake while the Mainers and new Renoans joined a few Hales to sip and graze in the new Short North district between downtown Columbus and the OSU campus. The next day (after the obligatory Bob Evans breakfast *at the HOME OFFICE*) we enjoyed a buffet lunch put together by the church ladies of Grace Memorial Church in Lancaster. As a nightcap some of us enjoyed a very good Mexican snack on Route 33. The following morning we reconvened in Jackson County, OH just a few miles from the Ohio River to learn all about the Big Green Egg, with a surprising taste of FORTY YEAR OLD bourbon.

Now that Marc and Brian have returned home to review (and lighten) their images, we’ve pulled together a highlight reel of the visit.

[The image above is not even from Ohio — it’s the cheesesteak vendor at the Philadelphia airport where Alison and I had lunch while connecting to ColuOH.]

Ohio September 2012
It all started Wednesday night at Brian’s house: Happy Birthday Brian… and, he grilled pork chops himself. But that’s not why we were there. We stayed over because we had to get up at 4am so Brian could take us to the airport for our 6:05 flight on Southwest. (Brian and Natasza were flying later.) It was our first time on Southwest and we discovered that when we checked our bags at the curb, all we needed was picture ID… We were already in the computer with our group and number for boarding (A 49). Seats aren’t assigned, but we paid 10 bucks to get in the A group, so getting a seat of choice was no problem. How cool is that?

There’s little to report on food at the airport at 5:15am (no tomato juice available) or on the airplane (just snax, thank you, and oh… bloody marys for 5 bucks each).

We got to Carol’s sister’s house in Baltimore, Ohio, late afternoon and sat down for some of DeeDee’s famous Barley Soup.

DeeDee’s Barley Soup

“Brown a pot roast real good in a cast iron skillet.
Put it in your slow cooker with potatoes, onion and celery and pour a cup of warm water around, not over the roast.
Cook on Low overnite then just keep adding to it.”
(This one had carrots, and corn.)

When I went out for my morning walk Friday, I picked up a few cans of V8 at the IGA. (Note to self: carry your own damn V8 for airplanes and when staying with ordinary people where “juice” means OJ or apple.)

I stopped “downtown Baltimore” to do my walking there… where there are sidewalks. I came across lots of pumpkins in a yard, and a few steps up the street, a very early Halloween decoration. Continue reading “Ohio Food Revue”


Reno 2, Oklahoma City 1

Great game at Reno Aces ballpark last nite, featuring their system’s top pitching prospect making his AAA debut. We sprang for the $18 tickets a dozen rows behind the Aces dugout to get a good look at him: Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick in the 2010 draft out of UCLA, whose slight build and arching windup immediately reminded me of Tim Lincecum. He buzzed through the first three batters, showing good command of a low 90s fastball (he touched 95 later in the game) and some wicked off-speed stuff that had opposing batters flailing (and his catcher scrambling around in the dirt). He scattered only 3 hits over the first 7 innings but worked out of a few jams when other baserunners reached on errors or walks.

Bauer’s counterpart kept the Aces’ bats quiet for the most part despite two Aces entering the game hitting over .400 and another over .370. The Aces broke through with a run in the 3rd when the third baseman’s two-out double high off the leftfield wall scored the centerfielder from third. They added to the lead with a solo shot to right by the first baseman (who was playing in his first game after serving a 50-game suspension for PEDs) in the 7th.

But the clear story of the game was young Trevor Bauer. He certainly didn’t look overmatched by the competition at his new level and was working on a 3-hit shutout in the 8th when the Redhawk catcher managed to muscle a 3-2 pitch high down the line in right for a solo homer that cut the lead to 2-1. Trevor finished the inning, striking out the side, and received a standing ovation from the crowd but he was pinch-hit for in the bottom half.

He was succeeded by a junkballing lefty who struck out the first batter in the 9th with three pitches that topped out at 71 mph but who was lifted for a fat righty after the next batter singled. Was the lefty brought in first just because there were two lefties scheduled to hit first and this portly chap was the real closer? Well, neither appeared to have closer stuff, as the second also featured a lot of 75 mph junk and walked the first batter he faced to put the tying run in scoring position.
Continue reading “Reno 2, Oklahoma City 1”

July Adventure, Homeward Bound

The SAAB gets its fuel pump and we get on back to SF

In Reno, days passed and Brian went to work and we shopped and read and caught up on writing and ate some food and reveled in the usually perfect July weather experienced for the most part on Brian’s back deck.

At the Spa up north, Brian was reminded of the wonderfulness of his hot tub, but it has been out of order for a while. Brian so loves his hot tub. He gave me the job of finding a guy to fix it, and I made some calls. Yes, and there was a rainstorm…

and a spectacular sunset the day before the day of.

The day of was Thursday. I called Walton Car Care and they said they were installing my fuel pump and we could come for the car at any time. That’s just when the hot tub guy came to take a look at the offending tub. I hung around, standing in for Brian. Carol and I scheduled ourselves to leave at 10am for the 8 hour pick-up trip — three hours north, one there, three south and one whatever. Leaving a little later won’t kill us. The hot tub situation is fixable, not dire, but there are parts to order and what not.

We were on I-395 before eleven and after the hills and dales and wide roads getting out of Sparks and Reno, we settled on the straight and narrow to Alturas. Brian’s plans changed slightly… he’s going north on Friday, so Carol and I took his Sabaru and will leave it at Walton’s for him to pick up on Friday.

In these wide open spaces, it seems that the road is always straight, the land is always vast and the mountains are always in the distance. When you think you might get to the mountains, the road might bend a bit and go straight on by. This road is on the California side of the border. On the Nevada side, the sensation is similar, but the vast land is white and tan over there, as opposed to greenish and reddish over here. Empty, is what it’s like. We could go nearly an hour without seeing another car, or a person working in a field. On the other hand, its not the Wild West anymore. We travel about 200 miles, one way, seeing essentially nothing, but we do it in about 3 hours. Its not like traveling ten miles a day, walking behind a Calistoga wagon, or two or three days by horseback. Continue reading “July Adventure, Homeward Bound”

July Adventure, Up North

As Brian works his magic and the SAAB remains a situation.

We left before the car was loaded on the truck, feeling an extreme need to get on with our lives. We backtracked on CA-222 to Cedarville, where we turned south onto Surprise Valley Road. According to legend, Surprise Valley got its name from the surprise the pioneers felt when they came over the mountains after crossing hundreds of miles of desert to find a land of streams and green grass. As we get into open country, the road is called Modoc County Route 1.

surprise valley

Brian alerted me as we approached the California Nevada border, and since there was not a vehicle in sight, we stopped to closely observe the border crossing. The California road we’ve been driving on has been resurfaced very recently… doesn’t even have lines yet. Land alongside is privately owned and fenced. Land in Nevada where the route changes name to NV-447, is open range, where sagebrush proliferates, and not privately owned. The border is where the white traffic lines start and fences end.

California Nevada border

We pressed on for a while; time passed and miles were traveled. Brian said, “see that pointy peak way up ahead? That’s Granite Peak, it caps the Granite Range at 9080 feet. That’s where we’re going. My study site is in the shadow of Granite Peak when the sun is low in the morning. We have a ways to go.”

granite peak

Time passed and miles were traveled. Just around that bend and downhill is Brian’s Study Site where we’ll stop and have a look.

the study site is just around the bend...
shift into four-wheel drive
bump along for about a half-mile, most of the site is about a mile in

Brian has “6 sites in NE California & NW Nevada, with 6 transects/site (3 transects in thick medusahead and 3 not; each transect has 6 cups, of which 3 are open at any given time.” He showed me one non-medusahead transect. Continue reading “July Adventure, Up North”

July Adventure

… in northern parts of CA and NV

It all began when Marcus (that would be the writer) got the brilliant idea to go and see where Brian goes when he goes “in the field” way up in Northeast California and Northwest Nevada around a town called Cedarville, CA.

Brian welcomed that idea and responded as follows in an email on June 20;

Planning for July 4th wkd. If you want to see field sites, probably the best thing to do is for y’all to meet us up in that area, which is ~3 hrs north of here. Doesn’t make sense for you to come here first then go there. As long as we’re up there, we might want to do it right. There is a spa with a natural hot springs near Cedarville, which is a surprisingly hip village in vermillion red Modoc Co.


Not outrageously expensive (similar to Calistoga) but there’s a 2-day minimum stay on holiday weekends. A proposed itinierary:

Sat – Meet for late lunch in NE Calif.; men go to field sites, ladies do tourism; check into spa;
Sun – men do field sites near spa; ladies do spa & tourism; Basque dinner in Altruas;
Mon – check out of spa; drive to Reno; hit last site on the way; ladies tour in Gerlach, Nev. (home of Burning Man); arrive Reno late afternoon;

Let me know what you think.
Doc B

On Jun 22, 2011, at 10:24 , Marcus Rector wrote:

Google sez it is nearly a 7 hour drive, so don’t plan anything rigorous for the old folks right away. If we leave about 7 we should get there in time for a LLL (leisurely late lunch).
I’m psyched.

Continue reading “July Adventure”

MLK Card 2011

Ignorant violence killed Martin Luther King Jr., through a nefarious impulse that he spent his life teaching us to reject.

We have learned so little in the four decades since his assassination. Violence continues to be a ubiquitous tool of both ideology and power and the tools of violence are increasingly available to any individual or group, no matter how malevolent or deranged. No nation, whether advanced or impoverished, is immune to this plague. Those who would profess non-violence as an unyielding dogma today are routinely dismissed as naïve or idealistic, as the violent path to an ideological or financial end is always more direct than the non-violent one.

The teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. are as relevant today as they were when he spoke them. Today is the American holiday that commemorates his life and work. He should have turned 81 years old this week.

Please take a moment today to reflect on some of his words and how they might still achieve their elusive goals. I have selected some that seem particularly relevant today (see card below). More can easily be found on the internet.

“Be the peace you wish to see in the world”

A Wedding Story

Nataliya Topchiy and Brian Rector, July 17, 2010

So I’m happily writing and posting stuff on eatsforone and it is Wednesday evening and Brian calls, “Natasza and I are getting married on Saturday. Do y’all want to come?”

“Well… yeah.”

on the road again...

So Carol works it to get off work on Friday and we leave for Reno at 9:20, grab lunch at Jack in the Box and get to Brian’s a little past two. Immediately, they are all over us. Natasza wants Carol to go hair and nails and cake and stuff with her. Brian wants me to go suit shopping with him. He wants a linen suit, preferably cream, and Men’s Warehouse is having a sale.

Finding Men’s Warehouse was not exactly easy, even with Brian’s superphone. We walked into the largest mall I’ve ever seen and asked questions until we found it at the exact opposite corner of the Mall. Along the way, Brian stopped at an AT&T kiosk to say his phone wasn’t acting right. Guy rebooted and everything was fine. Except this Men’s Warehouse was a tiny tuxedo rental place. There was one linen suit hanging on the wall. The nice lady directed us to a real Men’s Warehouse in the strip mall across the road. Not a great start.

We came out of the mall at the same time as a short woman with pigtails (and very large bazooms, I noted). He asked her about Men’s Warehouse. She said she used to live around here… didn’t know about Men’s Warehouse, but there’s a Joseph A Bank at The Summit – south on Virginia, past where I-380 crosses over.

Men’s Warehouse is in a concrete block, stand-alone building off to the side of the strip mall. It has a modest storefront and inside a rack of six or eight Calvin Klein linen suits. They were very white and none in Brian’s size, we learned. The salesman walked Brian around and showed him other suits, but nothing remotely interesting. B asked where else we could go and the salesman mentioned Burlington Coat Factory.

So we headed to The Summit, WAY south on Virginia Ave, a large outdoor shopping center with Macy’s and Dillard’s and generally upscale stores.

Carol: Natasza and I are plying the strip centers of Sparks. We go to the Bakery closest to the house that Brian mentioned to check out a wedding cake. Oops, $48 and probably wouldn’t be ready by Saturday noon.

Picture this: Natasza doesn’t drive, so she hasn’t done much shopping in Sparks or Reno. I have driven around, but never shopped for bakeries or had my hair done. Hadn’t even thought about it. The Internet isn’t much help in dealing with neighborhood bakeries and hairdressers.

Working our way across town to a bakery recommended to Brian, we found a wonderful little Austrian bakery with all kinds of tempting pastries. And yes, they do wedding cakes and can have one ready by Saturday noon. Natasza described her dream cake, white and light with whipped cream and strawberries between the layers. The price was a bargain $20.

The cake deal done and while ‘the boys’ were away, Natasza showed me her dress and asked me to help her with her veil and head dress. The dress laced up the back with broad silk lacing through fabric loops, quite lovely and the current style in wedding dresses. Natasza had made the veil and it was to go on her head with a circle of flowers. She had yet to try fitting it to her head. Continue reading “A Wedding Story”

Pigroast, 2010

Last year an actual pig was actually roasted. Pig ca. 2009

The Hales, as I know them, are centered in Lancaster, Ohio and like as not they celebrate their Haleness annually at a reunion wrapped around a Pigroast at Alan’s farm, Hale Hollow. A pig wasn’t actually roasted this year, but as a celebration – and it was a celebration – Pigroast is such a better name than picnic.

Picnic: A basket brought to a field somewhere, maybe under a tree… booooorrrrring. Pigroast: A rollicking good time by a bunch of folks churning around farm-like terrain. Flames and smoke are involved.

Pigs made a contribution by way of two of the meats of choice – keilbasa and pork tenderloin: “the other meat” in this case was brisket, and all were expertly smoked over the preceding 24 hours by Alan with an assist from Eric and Tillie.

This year was special. In addition to filling up on pig parts and other goodies, we were celebrating the life of Edward E. (Bus) Hale, the patriarch of the family who died in March. A service was held at Grace Church where scores of friends and family gathered to pay their respect. Son Mark spoke a tribute called “Dad” and grandson Brian read “Ode to Bus.”

For me, the highlight of the celebration was all those folks mingling in the church lobby before and after the service.
Continue reading “Pigroast, 2010”

Rector 50 Reno

Yes, folks, it *really* happened: Marc and Carol celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 19th, 2010. Eric and Brian made sure they did it in style with their favorite people in Sparks. (Sparks is next door to Reno.) Sparks is roughly a three and a half to four and a half hour drive (depending on traffic) from the San Francisco Bay Area, through Sacramento. It is also roughly 40 miles north of Incline Village on the north shore of Lake Tahoe.

Thank you to everyone who contributed a memory of where they were on June 19th, 1960. Here’s a link to a PDF version of the booklet I put together and handed out at the party. Marc and Carol had to think *a bit* with some of the entries (Marge was the hardest), but in the end they guessed them all.

The party took place at 5pm at

Vista Pavillion @ Hidden Valley Regional Park, Sparks/Reno, NV

a lovely spot managed by the Washoe Co. Parks and Rec department in the eastern hills above Sparks and Reno with trees for shade, tables, two barbecue stands, and a horseshoe pit. The view is to the west, so sunset is one of the featured events, especially when it back lights the incredible band we hired: Analog Jazz. The kept people dancing and singing through the whole party, part of the time fronted (spontaneously) by Marc’s sister Amy. We *highly* recommend hiring them for your next celebration in the I-80 Bay Area – Sacramento (where they’re based) – Reno corridor.

Google Map Link

Besides terrific jazz music from the 1960s, the party featured a visual display of some of the terrific movies that came out in 1960:

Butterfield 8
La Dolce Vita
Oceans 11 (the original)

and one movie that came out in the 1970s but is set around 1960 (in the CA central valley): American Grafitti.

The menu was a tribute to Carol Rector cuisine over the past 50 years:

Stuffed Mushrooms
Pimento Cheese on crackers
Eric’s Blue Thistle cheese (a new addition)

Brunswick Stew
Potato Latkes (fried potato pancakes) with cream cheese and chives
Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb
Grilled Bison T-Bone Steaks (a new addition)

Crepes Suzette, which flambeéd on the grill just as the sunset flambeéd the western sky.

The Rector family continues to travel this week as we celebrate Matt and Andrea’s wedding the following weekend. As soon as we all arrive back home, more pictures will be posted.


Carol and Marc (on right) at OSU APX Formal, Spring 1960


Continue reading “Rector 50 Reno”